Johor cops say seven more arrested over Parit Raja protest, to determine if ‘mastermind’ involved

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Johor police chief Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay said another seven male youths were arrested yesterday in connection with the provocative flash mob protest in Parit Raja last week. — Picture by Ben Tan
Johor police chief Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay said another seven male youths were arrested yesterday in connection with the provocative flash mob protest in Parit Raja last week. — Picture by Ben Tan

JOHOR BARU, May 18 — Police have arrested another seven people yesterday in connection with the flash mob protest in Parit Raja, Batu Pahat last week, bringing the total arrest to 27 individuals.

Johor police chief Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay said the male suspects arrested are aged between 19 and 23 and currently remanded for three days until this Thursday.

He said the 20 detained youths who were arrested earlier also had their remand extended for another three days after their initial remand period ended yesterday.

“At present, investigators learnt that those suspects that were already earlier remanded as well as the new arrests have their respective roles in the incident that included purchase of the beacons to making and also hanging the banners,” said Ayob Khan during a media conference at the Johor police contingent headquarters here today.

He was responding to the latest investigation updates on last Thursday’s flash mob protest by youth wielding flares and a banner with the phrase Kerajaan Gagal (Failed Government) in Parit Raja, Batu Pahat.

Some have claimed that the youths were manipulated by certain parties into taking part in the May 13 provocation.

Ayob Khan said investigations are also ongoing to determine if the incident involved a “mastermind” or the support of other individuals.

“The probe will also look into the possible involvement of activists and also non-governmental organisations (NGOs),” he said.

Last Thursday, police arrested 20 individuals to assist investigations into a rioting incident that broke out in the early hours of the first day of Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

Those arrested were Parit Raja youths, aged between 16 and 28, who are suspected of being responsible for lighting flares as well as making and displaying an anti-establishment banner. Videos and photographs of the supposed flash mob protest were widely shared on social media.

Malay Mail learnt that at least two police reports over the incident were lodged, one by a staff of the Prime Minister’s Office and another by a Batu Pahat-based Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia member.

Yesterday, Johor Perikatan Nasional (PN) urged the police to investigate allegations that “certain parties” might have instigated last week’s flash mob protest in Parit Raja, Batu Pahat.

Its secretary Datuk Dr Sahruddin Jamal urged the public to give the police space to conduct their investigations into whether there was a “mastermind” behind the fracas that he termed as an unfortunate incident involving youths.

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